Signaling A ‘Seismic Shift’ In Energy, Delta-Montrose Seeks Exit From Tri State Contract

Signaling A ‘Seismic Shift’ In Energy, Delta-Montrose Seeks Exit From Tri State Contract

The rural electricity provider in Colorado coal country is parting ways because Tri State is too closely tied to fossil fuels.

A rural electricity provider in Colorado coal country sent shockwaves Thursday when it announced plans to sever ties with wholesale power provider Tri-State Generation and Transmission in part because Tri-State is too closely tied to fossil fuels.

“Average member rates have increased by 56 percent since 2005,” said Virginia Harman, chief operating officer of the Delta-Montrose Electric Association. “That’s more than double the increase of the Consumer Price Index. And that stands in stark contrast to the overall energy market in which prices have decreased significantly.”

Harman connects those rising costs to coal-fired power provider Tri-State, which she said isn’t doing enough to replace fossil fuels with cheaper wind and solar. Delta-Montrose is prevented from generating from wind and solar because the Tri-State contract limits local renewable power generation at 5 percent, Harman said.

“We would like to exceed that,” she said. “This is a way for us to look at more diverse energy mix and increased local generation.”

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